She was the first presenter in the history of television in Spain and yesterday she left the world's set: Laura Valenzuela has died, Laurita Valenzuela for TVE viewers during the 60s, extremely popular especially for Saturday Galas, a variety program on TVE (1968-1970) that he presented together with his great friend Joaquín Prat.
Born Rocío Laura Espinosa López-Cepero (February 18, 1931, Seville), the popular model –“mannequin”, they were called then–, actress, presenter and singer Laura Valenzuela died at the Hospital de la Princesa in Madrid at the age of 92. years of age, after being admitted to the ICU for several days due to a recurrent infection.
Laura Valenzuela (she used this artistic name in memory of her grandmother) was the first presenter to appear on the screens of the 600 televisions that operated in Spain (Madrid area and surroundings) when the TVE broadcasts premiered in October of the year 1956. Sixty-six years later, those who still remember her debut underline the grace with which Laurita performed on set to announce a rigorous live refrigerator, for example. Household appliance brands sponsored the broadcasts and at that time commercial spots were not filmed: you had to know how to promote them with sympathy and conviction.
Laura Valenzuela, who in the early 1950s worked as a model in fashion shows, auditioned to be a presenter at the first TVE facilities on Paseo de La Habana. “I had no idea what television was about!” She confessed to me during a conversation almost twenty years ago. Laura Valenzuela made her debut without ever having seen a television or a television set before.
Valenzuela had been fired shortly before as a catwalk model due to a disagreement with an important client: the Duchess of Alba became so infatuated with a dress Laura was wearing that the model put it in the aristocrat's bag in a bad way.
After making her debut as a TVE presenter, Laura Valenzuela met her future husband, the film producer José Luis Dibildos, who empowered her in films such as L (1967) or Soltera y madre en la vida (1969) and in some co-productions with Alain Delon or Sophia Loren.
After thirteen years of courtship, she insisted on marrying Dibildos, which she accepted (“with a romantic 'if there is no other choice”, she said, amused) on the condition that she abandon her career as an actress and presenter, which she accepted without reproach. : retired from the small screen in 1971, after marrying Dibildos and having their daughter Lara.
Laura Valenzuela, in the 90s, twenty years after retiring, returned sporadically to TVE to host TVE mornings, along with her daughter Lara Dibildos, a public channel tactic to stand up to the Campos, mother and daughter too , who worked in the mornings of Telecinco.
The great popularity of Laura Valenzuela, which continues to this day, is mainly due to the force with which Galas del sábado entered homes, varieties, entertainment and humor for Saturday nights, with their own songs and dance troupe. She liked, above all, the chemistry between Laura Valenzuela and Joaquín Prat, for the elegance in the dress (gala) and in the room, in addition to the invincible sympathy that both radiated. All the artists of that time, national and international, film and song, paraded through the set. Those who watched that show still remember it, even though it only aired for two seasons.
On the wave of that weekly success, Laura Valenzuela would present the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest, the one that RTVE organized after Massiel's victory in 1968. Laura Valenzuela did it impeccably well.
Laura Valenzuela, for her ingenuity and grace, is already among the immortals of the sentimental chronicle of television in Spain.